You may think finding a nice place to packraft simply requires pulling up google maps, checking for specks of blue and then heading there. But although maps ARE quite involved, there’s more to it.
So let’s go through the 3 steps to find your perfect bikerafting route:
Step 1: To hike or bike, that is the question!
If you’re going to the water by bike, rather than hiking there, you can be a lot more flexible on the approach. Because while it doesn’t matter as much whether you’re doing 2KM or 20KM for the approach on a bike, it does matter when you have to cover that distance on foot first. Once you know which one you’re going with, you can check for train stations in the green areas of google maps, or Komoot.
Step 2: How much and for how long..?
This depends heavily on your level of training, the current in the water, and the weather conditions on the day of your trip. Packrafts are VERY sensitive to wind, so choosing a lake route will leave you exposed and unlikely to paddle more than 2-3KM/H. But even on a wind-shielded route, it doesn’t matter how hard you paddle: due to their shape. All packrafts top out at 4KM/H (by muscle-power alone). If you’re hoping to go any faster than that, you’d be wise to check for a river with a current. You can look up the rivers current online. Just enter your river/streams name and add “current speed”.
I would recommend to start easy. On a lake, that’d be a <10K route, on a river/stream something around 10-20KM of paddling in one session (per day). Multiply this by the amount of days you want to be out for, and you’ve got your travel distance!
If you can read German, and live around the area of Berlin, I can recommend this useful little tool to create your own packrafting route:
Step 3: Great. How do I get home now?
You’ve successfully paddled your route – and I hope you made sure you not only had an entry, but also an exit strategy! If you hiked in, make sure that the water you are entering runs along some form of public transport option, so you also have the chance to get back home after the trip.
Or just take your bike for full range of flexibility.
But who am I to say what’s better. 😉